The great rate of change has not worn out employees. As many as 81% of interviewed employees believed the changes their company had implemented were useful, 77% thought they were necessary and 65% thought them inevitable.
Employees see changes as a positive and have been the motor for development
More than two out of three employees felt that changes implemented by their company had influenced the meaningfulness of their work in a positive way. Over half felt that the changes had strengthened their belief in their employment relationship, and just under a third considered that the changes had had a positive effect on their pay. The biggest cause for worry was workload, which had grown according to a third of those interviewed.
"Finns are quite development orientated. During the past year, 74% of employees proposed new ideas to their supervisors, while almost as many developed their own work. Over one third said that they had been involved in the development of their employer's products or services as well. These numbers are even greater in companies that develop new products or services that are new to the market," Tuomo Alasoini, a Chief Adviser at Tekes explained.
Companies have renewed operations in different ways
Work brought the most pleasure to employees of companies that had grown or in which management had decentralised decision-making during the past two years. Work pleasure was significantly lower in organisations where power and decision-making were centralised following recent organisational changes. It was the lowest in those companies that had cut operations, for example by outsourcing them, or that had implemented organisational transformations, i.e. large changes to the organisation's principles. Work pleasure was also clearly lower than average in those organisations that had not implemented any changes.
In spite of an intense rate of change, companies operated very traditionally in some areas. Only 6% of industry enterprises and 12% of service enterprises utilised social media in the development of products and services. The share of industry and service enterprises that used social media in general was very low as well; 16% and 38%. Telecommuting was also relatively rare in practice, although it was possible in nearly half of companies.
The above information is from the Finnish MEADOW survey carried out by the University of Tampere's Work Research Centre, which is involved in the Tekes "Liideri – Business, Productivity and Joy at Work" programme. A total of 1,531 companies comprised of at least 10 employees and public sector organisations participated in the study in 2012-2013. The survey has also been carried out in the other Nordic countries, based on guidelines produced by a European multi-disciplinary research consortium in 2010.
The two first survey reports of the Finnish MEADOW project include information on strategies, management practices, work organisation, employment relations, performance, as well as changes and their effects in companies and the public sector. The reports also include information on how innovative enterprises, growth enterprises and export enterprises differ from others. The survey will continue to the end of 2013. Its final phase will include an in‑depth analysis of the organisation-level factors related to effectiveness, innovativeness and employee work engagement and pleasure in different sectors.
Chief Adviser Tuomo Alasoini, Tekes, tel. +358 50 557 7940, tuomo.alasoini(at)tekes.fi
Senior Researcher Simo Aho, University of Tampere tel. +358 50 318 6059, simo.aho(at)uta.fi